Do bananas work in treating constipation?

Bananas are both good and bad for constipation depending on the form in which they are eaten, be it either ripe or unripe. The views on this topic from online sources are mixed and contradictory

Five health boosting benefits of bananas
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No one can argue that bananas are a healthy fruit loaded with foliate, fibre, potassium and magnesium. But the question remains about whether the nutritious fruit causes or relieves constipation.

In an article on Everyday Health, Tammy Lakatos, registered dietician, nutritionist and personal trainer said that unripened green bananas are constipating, but ripe bananas with soluble fibres aid healthy bowel movements and cure constipation-related problems.

According to health benefits listed out by a well-known health website, bananas are used to successfully treat people recovering from diarrhoea. The fruit is part of a diet called the BRAT diet, which includes bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, that is consumed to be nutritionally replenished since diarrhoea can render people weak. Considerable potassium, an important electrolyte is depleted while suffering from chronic diarrhoea, can be derived in plenty from bananas.

However, another story by a differenr health news website shares the contradiction due to studies with opposing viewpoints. Though fibre is highly recommended by dieticians and medical practitioners alike to improve the functioning of the digestive tract, the results of the research based on soluble fibre and the relationship to digestion are conflicted.

The article said that resistant starch in green bananas have enough soluble fibre to reduce constipation and also solve diarrhoea-related issues. The resistant starch is lost and decreases when the banana ripens, this is why bananas should be consumed when they are ripe because at that point only the starch would be able to make up majority of the content.

According to the same article bananas act as prebiotics, feeding the good bacteria needed to multiply to protect the gut region. A study on 34 obese women who ate two bananas every day for two months reported an increase in Bifidobacteria needed for a healthy functioning gut.

However, they also experienced side effects like bloating and stomach pain, while the improvements in good gut bacteria are not reflected significantly in the numbers.

In conclusion, consume bananas in moderation to derive its nutrients, but if you do start feeling uncomfortable, then it’s best to eat less of it.

Source: Medical Daily